Susanna Salk


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Barn House Blog #1
Saturday, January 14th, 2017

Day One of the Barn House renovation:
The former owner- whose family has occupied the property since the 1880s- vacates this humble yellow house where he raised 2 daughters since 1980. He calls on our landline which never rings anymore and I happen to pick up : he wants to gives me the meter box numbers to the electricity to switch over to our name. As I take down the numbers I realize the reality of what we have done. The fantasy of buying the dream property literally next door is now transforming itself into things that are our responsibility now. He is a steely lawyer who suffers no fools. However his voice is softening, the way when the lake unfreezes in March. I ask him how he feels and he says: “Strange. I’ve never seen the house empty before.” His children have now grown and soon he will leave the keys on the kitchen counter for us and drive to North Carolina where he has purchased a new home and retire. Eventually I will have to leave my keys on the counter for whomever buys our current house. And so will the people who buy our house to their house and so on and so on. We bond more over this than we ever have as neighbors in seven years. His home will ultimately become a modern guest house to a barn style house just up the hill that will be our main house. Right now it’s an empty barn from the 70s, its floors drenched in bat shit and slates of sun pouring through the broken glass windows. The only furnishing is a rotted bookshelf full of titles like “Understanding Russia” and “Arabian Nights.” Their dusty print is so minuscule it’s like another language. I stand and imagine where our new fireplace is going to be and where the sofas are going to be and how someday I hopefully will sit on them and read my iPad and look through the renovated windows to the yellow house -now painted another color -where my sons will hopefully live when they visit and their children and so on. It’s one continuous chain. And in order for it to flow, change must come. “Please visit,” I tell him before hanging up. #barnhouseblog